Friday, 31 August 2018

An Unexpected Flurry Of Activity.

A case of fake news perhaps?

It has been a week of holiday, family visiting and generally unwinding to the fullest. The family left yesterday morning and taking the laissez-faire attitude a tad further, I chose to do the post visit cleaning another day. Nobody was coming anyway.

Bob is on a week's leave before the two months of harvesting begins and we've just lazed about relaxing. Late yesterday afternoon he drove to drop off some work stuff ( three kilometers away ) and a few minutes later he phoned me:

" Schatzi, my boss just phoned me to say that he and his wife would drop of stuff at our house within the next hour. Just thought I'd tell you. "
On the surface a normal bit of conversation but using my ' Bob ' translation code it meant that I should get the house into ship shape order in case the boss came in.

My laissez - faire attitude of ' we are as we are ' lasted about a minute before my emergency cleaning mode kicked in. A flurry of activity ensued, Mausi just having her house back to normal had to flee from our hoover, and I suddenly re-developed my multi tasking skill.

Bob came home ten minutes later and while I was dashing about with the Essig Reiniger & mop, I asked him to help me.

" Bob, please can you do the hoovering quickly. "
" Why are you even cleaning up? They are not coming inside. "
and with that he entered the portal of his computer game, a place where hearing is optional. Jeez-a-lou, what a cheek. Phoning me to set the ball rolling but questioning my mad cleaning dashes about the house. Being a man he has correctly worked out that my inherent ( nature or nurture ? ) need to present a neat house to visitors would trump his inherent need to duck any such activity...

Isn't it amazing what one can do with an hour provided the right motivation is there? When his boss finally arrived, sans wife, it literally was just a case of dropping something off. Nobody came inside our house and my flurry of activity was all for nothing...but not really as it was nice to know that I could check cleaning off my list of chores...


Thursday, 30 August 2018

Mad About Wraps.

The Mexican wave.

The Bobster and I are always on the lookout for something scrumptious to add to our cooking repertoire and recently we've discovered the addictive qualities of wraps or as they are more professionally known...tortillas. Better late than never.

We had our first attempt at eating them a few weeks ago and as we instantly loved the idea of them, we introduced my folks to them as well, and yes, they like them. Eating Tortillas has so many great qualities and the best one is eating them with your hands. A fast food of the healthy kind.

Last week we took a selection of goodies ( including wraps ) to a grill party. Mainly to be certain of having something delicious and plant based to eat but also because we had left overs that deserved a better end than the bin.

The fillings we took were simple but did the trick. There were a few non-vegans at the party, secretly worried if they would get anything substantial to eat now that vegans were in their midst, holding on for dear life to their way of eating. Each to their own and hopefully the same applies to us as well.

Mum and I put the tortillas into the oven to warm and assembled the various bowls of fillings; sliced onions, tomatoes, avocados, spring onions, cold beans, vegan mayonnaise and at the request my husband, a tahin dressing.

We humbly put our food on one side of the table, wondering how much would be left over...well, as per usual the vegan offerings were finished before anything else as people were drawn to the colourful display along with discovering how much flavour plant based food has. Seconds were had, hardly a peep was heard apart from delighted munching and crunching. Brilliant, I love it when preconceived ideas crumble.

But best of all, is that having something different at a grill party gets people talking, thinking and considering how and what they eat. Even if they devote only one day or meal a week to eating vegan, the fuse is lit and burning bright.


Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Newly Minted Vegan.

Finding dishes in the least expected places.

At times it seems as though I only changed culinary gears yesterday and other times I feel like having come home after a long and arduous excursion. Yes, being plant based or vegan feels perfectly right. Even though I wish I'd found my way to it decades earlier, I more than likely wouldn't have appreciated the sheer genius of it.

Now of course I love every aspect of it ranging from finding unexpected treats to places to eat. Look, realistically as a vegan I can eat anywhere...potatoes, rice and salad are ubiquitous even in the opposite spectrum's temple...McDonalds', but when I find little nuggets of vegan treasures in an Oberwart restaurant, I am excited beyond measure.

Yesterday we went for lunch at a wonderful authentic Gasthaus in Oberwart...Gasthaus Drobits. Honestly, I thought I would order a side of rice and a mixed salad until Bob excitedly pointed to a dish under the Vegetarian heading. A vegan dish, proudly named as such which was amazing considering that most locals love variations of pork. Well, regardless of what this vegan dish was, I ordered it and as it merely said rice, grilled vegetables and curry sauce, I was just expecting some bland vegetables.

Well, when the dish arrived at the table, I was stunned, thrilled, excited and couldn't wait to eat it. Personally, I think mine was the nicest plate of all as the chef had included finer vegan details such as sprinkling of rocket, beautiful decorations and had effortlessly morphed a simple veg and rice into a feast for the eyes. Loved it.

A medley of vegetables made into a divine tasting meal.


Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Who To Believe...

Contradictory Proverbs.

  • Familiarity breeds contempt...Better the devil you know.
  • Great minds think alike...Idiots seldom differ.
  • Tomorrow is another day...Tomorrow never comes.
  • Fools rush in where angles fear to tread...He who hesitates is lost.
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder...Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Beware of Greeks bearing gifts...Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
  • You're never too old to learn...You can't teach an old dog new tricks.
  • Many hands make light work...Too many cooks spoil the broth.
  • No fool like an old fool...With age comes wisdom.
  • The tailor maketh the man...Never judge a book by its cover.
  • The early bird gets the worm...Haste makes waste.
  • The pen is mightier than the sword...Actions speak louder than words.


Monday, 27 August 2018

The Markers Of Time.

Life events.

Time, how do you measure it? Clocks and calendars are one method but isn't it often the hints dropped in conversation or by nature that make us sit up and realize that another month, year or decade have passed.

When you get to a certain age everyone looks young. Teachers, doctors, electricians, mechanics or bankers suddenly are wrapped in a dewy package. Gosh, how terribly young they are and how amazing that only the other day they perhaps rode their mopeds, took the bus to school or sat well behaved in the back of their parent's car. Now they are the ones serving you, teaching your children or fixing your washing machine.

The local bank manager who is or rather seems extremely young has just become a father himself and now has his own little marker of time. Often the years melt from one to the other without any obvious reminder of which one we are in, except New Year's of course, because for me it was just the other day this manager took over our branch and now he's already head of his own family. Yes, time changed.

When I was on the peachy side of young I could never get my head around the idea when people of an older generation said:

" I know I am 50 / 60 / 70 but I still feel and think as though I am 20. "
but now the same feeling has made itself at home and only when I get talked to by a younger person in the polite ( reserved for older folks ) form do I realize that the above sentiment is in mind only. Oh well, at least my thoughts aren't rusted with inflexibility...I hope.


Sunday, 26 August 2018

An Awesome Overcast Sunday In Burgenland.

Is summer's zenith history?

A drizzling of rain didn't make a difference to this bird purveying its terrain. It was a welcome change to walk in overcast conditions and as one fellow walker said to me today:
" At least we aren't drenched in sweat. "

A bright pink like that can only attract. Reminds me of cotton balls or DNA chains...
What a change from a few days ago. The wind is whistling across the vineyards, raindrops a constant companion and the sweltering heat a distant memory. Nice. Refreshing. End of summer.
Even in dull and overcast weather nature is arresting.
A simple flower behind a kellerstock is ignored by many but I think that those ' insignificant ' flowers are the best. As you can see, despite a lack of sunshine they make one smile.


Saturday, 25 August 2018

A New Saturday Lunch Discovery.

Another great invention.

The Bobster and I dared a Saturday morning excursion into a hectic Oberwart which had a helping hand from copious amounts of rain and of course the imminent start of the new school year. Town was as busy as the shopping center, which is nice to see. Oberwart is thriving and new buildings are shooting up everywhere.

To be honest, the only reason we started off our shop in town was a long overdue visit to Fielmann. Yes, the two of us have entered the magic arena of funky glasses riding on the tip of our noses. Yes, the reading-glasses age. Fielmann is rather brilliant as we each had an eye exam ( both of us did rather well with hardly a change ), chose groovy glasses and had a professional consultation all for the price of 17,50 euros per pair of glasses!!! Any attempt at upgrading our choice of glasses was blocked;

" Don't worry, we love the 17,50 ones because we don't stress if we sit on them accidentally. "

Once the visual attachments were sorted, we headed off for groceries. Now that we eat plant based, it takes a bit more effort to source the various bits but not impossible. In fact, shopping is much more fun now and it is doubly nice that Bob enjoys our new culinary life style along with discovering eligible foods in supermarkets.

There was a special on tortilla bases and Bob enticed me to get them with his description of the finished product. Homemade Falafel, mayo, shredded lettuce, avocado, sliced onions topped with a divine tahin sauce. I was sold after he got to the mayo and as soon as we got home, we made it for lunch. It didn't take us more than five minutes to prepare everything and it was a delicious and mouth watering lunch. Absolutely fabulous and much better than any bought meal.


Friday, 24 August 2018

Buttening Down The Hatches.

The impending storm.

The reeds are belly-dancing along side the barn intune with gusts of wind. It has been such a while since we've had a storm that I don't even remember if they all start like that. Specks of dust are hurtling in the air awaiting unsuspecting eyes. The one time I am without sunglasses...

The one side of our house tends to have spots of dampness and after much speculation we have come to the conclusion that there is nothing to stop the water running down the street from taking a shortcut across our property. Nature or rather water will find the least resistance and of course flow downhill.

Bob and I wanted to sort it out last night, sort of an improvised version, but he was so exhausted from work that we didn't get a chance to alter the course of water.

Chores have a habit of being forgotten but when I went outside to take the washing of the line, I couldn't but remember with a set of threatening clouds bearing down upon us. Oh, not long now and the heavens will purge. Bob is still at work so I did a speedy bit of improvisation. An old branch gathering dust in the corner has been given a new lease of life outside pretending to be a little dam and those spare bricks gracing odd places in our garden have been commandeered as seconds.

It didn't take me long to cart those items up the road by hand and artistically arrange them in order to deflect a deluge of rain. If it will work, I am not sure but at least I have tried. Of course there is a professional way to do it, but we tend to leave everything to the last minute and why not re-use what we have lying around the garden...

Let's see if this makes a difference.


Thursday, 23 August 2018

And The Heatwave Continues.

At least 35 in the shade.

The weather fairies have predicted a slew of rain starting tonight and like everyone else, I am monitoring any and all clouds that enter my field of vision. Enough of this dry hot weather and more to the point, enough of these climate change deniers. Everyone can feel the change, so let's hope they come on board and think before they consume.

" And no, it doesn't cut it to say that one person won't make a difference! We all have to do our bit even if it is uncomfortable or not to our liking. "

Most of the local hospitals are overrun with elderly folk who are suffering terribly in this humidity. Drips are almost a standard response. Dehydration is not to be underestimated and yet, most don't drink enough water on a daily basis. I suppose one doesn't notice dehydration as much as perhaps feeling hungry or tired.

Here are some signs of being dehydrated: Confusion / difficulty walking / dizziness or headaches / sunken eyes / rapid heart rate / low blood pressure.

When I did my round this morning I noticed a few more Eisenbergers having a spanking new swimming pool out back. Sadly not the same as those in Southern Hemisphere backyards ( flush to the ground, elegant and inviting ) but rather a big rectangular monstrosity about two meters high smack bang in the backyard.

Granted, a pool's a pool but I just don't find these above ground tanks inviting. The worst of it is that they stand without any cover of shade so swimming in it might resemble a tepid bath. Make sure you wear a big Aussie hat! For kids it is heaven, but for us older lot floating gracefully with a gin and tonic in hand involves a treacherous climb up rickety stairs...


Wednesday, 22 August 2018

A Walk Up The Road.

Spotting the extraordinary in the ordinary.

The house stands empty, but the garden still holds oasis of niceness. I love these little purple creepers and when I walked past them this morning they made me think of the lady who used to live there...
Behind our house lies this field of pumpkins...need self control in order not to go and pick one. What a pleasure to see the orange pumpkins dotted across the long field.
Two fields up the road a stretch of soya ( ? ) beans are shining in their bright golds and greens. A feast for the eye before it becomes a feast to eat.
Who needs glass in a window when creepers will do? Somehow this barn tends to remind me of Tuscany. Love walking by and catching glimpses revealed by the changing light.
Same barn, different angle...looks almost like a home from the Cotswold, doesn't it? Eisenberg, what a lovely village.


Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Play Of The Sunlight.

The beginning of pop...corn!

Walking past this field of corn was amazing. The sun was rippling through it accentuating greens still there.
These few cob of corn were left for the deer to eat. Literally a strip of corn was left alongside the road. Bob has just made himself a pot of popcorn, the old fashioned way. We tend to forget where those kernels come from...
A history of summer. The extreme heat we've been living through has left its mark on crops.
A corn field a bit further along making today look rather picturesque. In a matter of a few months the little seedlings have sprouted to a lofty height. Taller than me.
Red sirens in clay pots giving credence to the saying...Burgenland, the Toscana of Austria.
Same pots, different angle. The sun's might creates beauty whichever side one takes note of it.


Monday, 20 August 2018

A Buck Crossed The Road.

Living in rural bliss.

Monday mornings do tend to be a tad bit hectic especially today, as I had to drive Bob to work. Not far enough to put on war-paint, but far enough to lock the front door. A four kilometer round trip at the crack of dawn. Half past five!

The road linking the two Eisenbergs ( weinberg and town ) is notorious for buck and amply sign posted for them. Bob was driving, luckily not too fast with me in the car as I have a tendency to caution when I deem it necessary. Women do have a sixth sense after all. Annoying to husbands but, gosh, you chose us!

It was the final curve before we hit the glamerous part of town ( Eisenberg Weinberg ) that I caught a glimpse of bright orange fur about to cross the road in front of us. Bob properly saw it at the same time I screamed " Reh " and quickly hit the brakes. Not a moment too soon. This buck hopped across the road missing our left front fender by a cat's whiskers and I wouldn't be surprised to see bits of fur gracing our bonnet.

Both of us were shaken to the core and I sent a heartfelt thanks to the powers above because many a car has been badly damaged by deer collisions. Not too mention the people inside.

Who knows what speed is a good one? Drive a bit faster, miss it. Drive a bit slower, get hit? After Bob had dropped himself off, I got into the driver's seat and believe you me, I dawdled my way back home, not caring a tot about impatient drivers behind me. This buck might have harboured a yearning to cross back over again.

As we are surrounded by forests, big forests, our area is notorious for deer. At times gently grazing on verges with the odd few times hopping across the road to a more delicious looking verge. For that reason alone I drive like Granny Goo when I cross into deer territory. Rather safe than sorry.


Sunday, 19 August 2018

Where Has The Time Gone?

How silly of us to wish it away when later on in life we try and put the brakes on it.

It felt like only yesterday that the schools shut for the long summer holidays. Two months of blissful nothings for the kids has shrunk to a week. Yes, September is around the corner. Shops are filled with writing paraphernalia of all sorts, pens that are so colourful as to take the sting out of school.

Let's face it, the only ones rubbing their hands in glee are parents, stretched to the limit dreaming up ways to staff of their offspring's boredom. If only they'd discover reading and the endless adventures encountered with it. I live in hope!

As for us grown ups ( sounds better than adults ) it is frightening how quickly one Sunday rolls onto the next. Monday mornings drag on endlessly but before we know it, Friday evening, hamburger night for us, is here. Don't let me get started on the unseemly hasty sprint acquired by Saturday and Sunday...

Bob was perusing our high school yearbooks ( alas, mine predates his by a few years! ) and reading up captions penned by our younger selves. We were invincible in thoughts until we encountered reality sometime down the line. Like it should be. Life is never linear never boring. Decades melt into momentary memories and days are imprinted on us forever. Each generation lives through a moment in time which we'll recall with clarity years down the line...Princess Diana's death being part of mine.


" The right time is any time as one is still so lucky as to have. "
Henry James ( 1843-1916)
" ' What do ties matter, Jeeves, at a time like this? '
There is no time, sir, at which ties do not matter.' "

P.G. Wodehouse ( 1881-1975 )
" Every moment has its pleasures and its hope. "
Jane Austen, Mansfield Park ( 1775-1817 )

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Glimpses Of Eisenberg Life.

A beautiful Saturday morning.

Horses have a knack for looking peaceful and content with life. A true stalwart of country life.
One of the horses at least made an effort to pose for me and ended up looking rather pleased to see me walk by. A natural model, wouldn't you say?
Hofzimmer lane has been newly tarred making it easier to drive on. Once it was decided upon, it merely took a week to do...
With such great surroundings, getting up for a walk is as easy as can be.
An old Kellerstock that must have seen a lot of local history. Whenever I walk past it I imagine the folks who had used it at some time, their lives with all its ups and downs. let's hope it won't be torn down and replaced by a modern concrete cube of sorts.


Friday, 17 August 2018

Reading, Sleeping & Eating.

Best way to spend a holiday.

Bob unexpectedly got most of the week off from work and as we didn't know about it, we are doing divinely nothing at all. No rushing about, although yesterday we did a stint in Oberwart to stock up larder and rekindle our fondness of sushi which was rather hectic in the end and Bob was reaching the end of his tether. Fighting Oberwart's holiday traffic can be hair-raising.

Bob works so jolly hard that I am thrilled that he is reading ( finished a book already ) at times with the book next to him ( as well as a slumbering cat ), watching tv but most importantly, relaxing. The art of relaxing isn't that easy. Often one feels the need to use holidays to hoover up ( naturally styled to Instagram perfection ) cities, museums, shopping malls or sunshine at the beach and mostly ending up more stressed than before the holiday.

Gosh, if we had a few months leave than a week or two on Croatia's beaches might be just the ticket, but when time is rare, the less done the better.

This morning Bob did a solo trip pirouetting our lawn mowing equipment gracefully about the garden even though I had offered to do most of it. It has been a long time since he did a solo trip like that and I have a sneaking suspicion that he wanted to iron out all those imperfections my turn at the 'wheel' had produced. Perfectionism has its price...more work!

In an hour's time we are about to head off to Kopfensteiner's Buschenschank with the folks and what better way to round off a peaceful and relaxing day. The old adage of Less is More should be put on banners everywhere to remind us that we don't need a lot to be happy and more importantly, we don't need to hoover up every morsel of holiday activity in order to feel like we've had a good holiday.


Thursday, 16 August 2018

A League Of Cat Serfs About.

All about the cat...

Honestly, often the main reason we go to town is to find her majesty's favourite morsels of food. We've been relegated to playing second fiddle in our household. As she only deigns to eat one brand even though I've tried numerous times to slip in a can from a competitor, it means scouring a whole lot of shops for the best deal.

Bob and I are the quintessential couple sans kids but with cats. So far I hope that I've escaped having my name whispered together with crazy cat lady. Being called Cat woman wouldn't be so bad as one does picture Michelle Pfeiffer in that black leather outfit.

From never having had a cat to being an over the top cat parent, didn't take me long but I figured that if not why not. Different strokes for different folks...that is until today when the penny dropped that Bob and I are hardly alone in our quest of pleasing the princess. Standing in front of the shelf at Müller today, dithering and contemplating each can as if it was made of gold, I couldn't help but be pleased when I heard a hurrumpf next to me;

" You know, my cat only eats a few of these choices. Often, a can of food she devoured the day before will only get a disdainful sniff and be left for eternity. "
" Oh my god, you too? Ours will rather starve than eat even a morsel of it, even though it was her favourite flavour. "
" Last year I could still get away with buying her a cheaper brand, but this year, I've had to switch to this more expensive brand. "
As we got talking over a few cans of cat food, another lady walked by, grinning to herself. Oh yes, there are many of us who have been enslaved by a cute miaow, a loving cuddle or a look that would melt any heart...


Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Encountering A Beetle Caravan.

Rechnitz appears to have had it all today.

Bob and I set off at ten towards Közseg for a bit of public holiday behaviour. Shopping, along with what seems to have been a whole lot of other Austrians. Clever not to have public holidays on the same day! We had Tesco in our sights and I suppose, minds. In the end, the Tesco was a bit of a disappointment and next time we'll go to the other one in Szombathely.

So there we were driving along on yet another sunny day, windows at half mast, thankfully the radio silent and just enjoying catching up ( driving might be the new way of being in the moment sans smartphone, TV or laptop ) when we encountered the beetle caravan. Goodness me, I had no idea there were so many still about. A slew of old VW beetle bugs were driving sedately in singe file. At least fifty in all ages and colours. Too marvelous to see. It took me back to my youth and being driving about by mum in her white beetle bug. Great memories.

It was amazing to witness this procession. Everyone of the drivers and co-drivers was grinning from ear to ear, windows down and on some still clung a wonderful aura of hippy-dom. Rechnitz was having a Kirtag and a bit later we ran into a caravan of old-timer tractors as well.

As the beetles were buzzing past us one by one, their bubble of excitement touched us. Or me rather.

" Schatzi, wouldn't it be great fun to save up for an old bug and join these breakfast-runs? "
Either he was too busy admiring the column or he chose to ignore one of my many ideas being uttered at the drop of a hat. Fair enough, these cars are expensive and need lots of tender love and care.

After finishing our tour of Tesco, Bob and I stopped at a nice Hungarian restaurant. We'd often driven past but had never tried it. It was good, but we both agreed that our ' local ' Hatarmenti Vigado is still tops.

When we got back home this afternoon, I chose to recline on the couch with a book in hand while Bob was apparently doing research on his computer...

" Honey, listen to this: a 1960's VW beetle bug for sale...! "
Ah, The Bobster was listening after all and the bug, beetle bug might have bitten him. I can very well picture the two of us being part of a beetle club.


Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Oh, What Fluffy Silkies.

Perfectly coiffed chickens indeed.

What a marvelous rooster! How clean and fluffy his plumage is. Perhaps he has the ladies scratch for worms and co.
His friend or rather one of his favourite ladies does seem in need of a comb-out.
One of the three young chicks that hatched from three eggs adopted and brooded on one of the other hens until birth. Stunning colouring but as they are so quick of foot, I hardly managed to get a photo of them.
The rooster, a.k.a. Don Frederico, is getting the customary kiss on his feet .
An old soul in a young body...Doesn't she ( ? ) look adorable? Honestly, sitting outside their pen for a good while was a marvelous tonic for my soul. A very peaceful way to spend time.


Monday, 13 August 2018

All Kinds Of Pets Were Taken For A Walk This Morning.

A good start to a short week.

Wednesday is a public holiday so many a cunning worker has taken a few days leave only to be rewarded with a week of holiday bookended by two weekends. Not too shabby!

Suffice to say that this morning the paths were fuller than normal. At first I had a solitary reflection upon life which wonderfully changed when I ran into Ingrid and her Johnny. He spotted me first and galloped toward me with such exuberance and joy. Dogs, aren't they special? Strangely enough I almost solely recognize people by their dogs.

As we hadn't walked together for a long time, we joined up for a short stretch in order to catch up on all the on dits. The smaller the place the longer it takes...

Just as we were about to part ways, Ingrid spotted what looked like a big dog coming toward us and she decided to keep Johnny by her side, not knowing how ferocious this big dog might be. Both of us were trying to focus on the shape yet had no luck despite both of us wearing optical glasses. I rather took it to be a large man walking with his wife.

The mysterious shape revealed itself moments was a local young lass walking her horse. Yes, on a leash just like one would walk a dog. When I passed her I asked her why she wasn't riding her horse and she told me that it had an allergy which she didn't want to risk making it worse. Isn't it amazing how animal owners do anything and everything for their pets? Lovely.

Despite it having been rather early, the village was teeming with activity. The graveyard is never without someone filling a watering can, the brush cutters' echo from the distant vineyards, mad tweeting between birds and the odd passing car adds a base to this wonderful rural ditty.


Sunday, 12 August 2018

Logs Of Time.

Wooden theme...

Those piles of wooden logs are ubiquitous in our area. We do have forests as far as the eye can see. These particular ones have lain there long enough to host flowery lodgers.
Bark as rough and tough as they make them...don't these logs remind you of elephants?
The wooden scaffolding of a hunter's lookout adds an extra element to the outskirts of Deutsch Schützen.
An old well not used anymore. It stands so gloriously on a plot that often I try and picture how life was when this well was still in daily use.
A typical Kellerstock yet the combination of red window boxes, old brown wooden cladding and emerald walnut leaves create an awesome image.
I have the utmost respect and admiration for whoever keeps these flower-drops in such perfect condition with not one wilted petal in sight. Here they are on ground level but around our village similar flower-drops hang out of high up windows...imagine keeping those in mint condition?


Saturday, 11 August 2018

Felines Rule.

Tiggi, my heroine.

As you know, she and I have a ritual at feeding time; a long cuddle first and then din dins. Gosh, in her old age she has taken to Bob and I, become a mother hen to Mausi who by the way ignores her totally, and has shed most of her fear toward humans and revealed her true heart. A one in a million cat.

The older she gets the thinner she looks which is why I tend to go and spoil her with a double helping of food at night. One can of the best ( Mausi doesn't like certain flavours so I re-gift them ) and a sachet of the normal stuff. A feline rice and gravy affair. She is ever so grateful for any and all food we give her and has manners enough to finish what's on her plate unlike certain other prima donna's.

Last night or rather early this morning the princess and I migrated to the lounge where I opened the window wide, hoping like crazy that during my odd phases of slumber Mausi wouldn't tear through the mosquito netting and abscond into the dark yonder. Whenever I wake to turn onto my side I first look to see that she's still on the right side of the window. Tiggi often is on the other side, keeping an eye on her.

A sound other than a pretend murder on TV woke me. A howling, whining and hissing fit outside. Tiggi was defending her window perch to her lungs content or perhaps she was guarding Mausi from a strange tomcat doing the rounds. I have never heard her so defensive which makes me wonder if it wasn't the fox. Mausi was shaking in her boots and eventually jumped onto my lap for safety. Her guardian meanwhile was moving to the next level of defense; she threw herself off the sill at who or whatever was lingering below it. Accompanied by a healthy feline war cry.

Knowing that I couldn't interfere never mind how dark it was outside, I went back to sleep hoping she'd be okay. When I woke up later on I was thrilled to see her sitting looking in, all in one piece as if nothing had happened. A cat in a million. She has taken our darling under her wing and so far has made sure to protect her from any dangers. Tomcats mostly! I think she deserves those extra treats on a daily basis...


Friday, 10 August 2018

Timekeeping The Eisenberg Way.

Another weekend is upon us.

Not long after we moved here I stopped wearing a watch. My cousin had told me about the electromagnetic interference a wrist watch could produce and I thought, why not, let me try it. Surprisingly enough I can keep an almost accurate time schedule without one and only now and again making use of our alarm clock. I don't rely on our cell phone either as it usually gets banished to another corner of the house.

So back to Eisenberg and its timely hints. Friday afternoons at half past three the butcher's truck meanders slowly up Dorfstrasse while at the same time hooting a mini concert to lure housewives out their kitchens. Oh, and to remind me of the time. Unless someone can't make up their minds about the style of Sunday's roast, the butcher is a pretty accurate time piece.

Wouldn't it be fabulous if a truck filled with fresh seasonal vegetables from a neighbouring farmer were to compliment the butcher's? Might not be a bad idea either to double up farmers' markets with mobile greengrocers. If it can work for butchers, ice cream vendors and bakers, then why not for greengrocers!

Ironically, Saturdays get rude reminders of noon with the fire siren blasting a steady shrill and rather long klaxon sound. If one wasn't up before, that shrill siren will do the trick. No rest for late night clubbers. The noon call does help herd many a husband back home to a nice cooked family lunch.

Having these timely reminders makes me feel at home, rooted and oddly nostalgic for those times when time was kept exactly like that...


Thursday, 9 August 2018

" Would You Like Fish Or Krautfleckerl For Lunch Tomorrow, Mrs W? "

A nice late morning visit at Güssing's old age home.

I had planned this visit a few days ago and despite today having been one of the hottest days of summer ever in our area ( up to 38 degrees in some parts of Burgenland ) I went ahead. Timing is vital when visiting guests of an old age home. Meals have to be circumvented with dexterity.

A few minutes off eleven saw me walk up one flight of stairs to this lady's room. Early for lunch but not really as most guests were sitting in their designated seats, bib around their necks, fork in hand and staring into the distance while awaiting lunch. Rather sad indeed.

We sat at the small table in her room and chatted about this and that pertaining to our village. Although only having lived in the home for a few years she still has her finger on the pulse of village happenings. In her circle of course. You know, when one lives in a home with everything structured around time, the one thing that can be slowed down are conversations.

Taking the time to chat without being interrupted by an annoying ping of a seemingly important but really a bland / useless message on Twitter, Facebook & co is a lost art. Looking at one's opposite instead of glancing down every few seconds could count as a modern day relaxation therapy.

After some time I got up to leave and wouldn't you know it, at the right time too. The meal trolley had finally reached her floor and as one of the nurses put down her tray, she asked:

" Would you like fish or Krautfleckerl tomorrow, Mrs W. ? "
Gosh, her eyes lit up!
" Oh, how divine, of course I'll have the Krautfleckerl. "
" That's perfect, I thought you might. "
Krautfleckerl are one of the favourite meals in our area. A deceptively simple dish of cabbage and pasta shells with flavour aplenty. A dish perfect for Catholic Fridays, stretched budgets and hungry kids. But the most important aspect to this dish is the memories of yesteryear it evokes in almost everyone, memories of their mothers and grandmothers having lovingly prepared it for their families.


Wednesday, 8 August 2018

In The Heat Of The Day.

A new norm?

Last night we had a quick respite. The clash of celestial puffs of air finally moved from dress rehearsal to opening act. Raindrops fell making the air marginally cooler for a while. When I checked the rain measurement ( big plastic bin under our drainpipe ) it hadn't filled more than a few millimeters. Mind you, the air, ground and garden are so parched that they must have absorbed any and all raindrops.

My weekly Wednesday walk brought not much more than sweat and a morsel of village gossip. Turns out that one of the local graves has a tomato plant growing atop and the widow doesn't appear to want to change it for a conformist bouquet of graveyard faithfuls. Ah, tongues will be wagging...

The school holidays are into their second month and I've already had a few kids for refreshers. Parental pressure on the one hand but boredom and excessive heat on the other. Much nicer to spend an hour indoor where it is cool.

Mausi whiles the day away dreaming of chasing this that or the other often only waking up to change her bed. The only time she leaves her dreamworld properly is when she hears the engine of Bob's company van powering up the driveway. So cute to see the excitement on her little face when Daddy comes home. Of course the minute he steps through the door she carries on her aloof act. Cats, a mystery indeed.

The heatwave appears to have pitched its tent for at least another week and the only upside to it...winter is mere months away.

A charm of birds using the coolness of an early morning to exchange the day's gossip.


Tuesday, 7 August 2018


Words of wisdom.

" Let not poor Nellie starve. "
Charles the second; last words.
" I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions. "
Lillian Hellman ( 1907-1984 )
" All that belongs to mortals is mortal;
all things pass us by, or if not, we pass them by. "

Lucian Greek Anthology ( 125-190 )
" There are those who do not dislike wrong rumours
if they are about the right men. "

Murasaki Shikibu - The Tale of Genji c.1010
" The kind of people who always go on about whether a thing is in good taste invariably have very bad taste. "
Joe Orton ( 1933-1967 )
" Against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain. "
Friedrich von Schiller - Die Jungfrau von Orleans 1801
" A nation only has character when it is free. "
Madame de Stael ( 1766-1817 )
" A diplomat these days is nothing but a head-waiter who's allowed to sit down occasionally. "
Peter Ustinov - Romanoff and Juliet 1956
" I don't owe a penny to a single soul - not counting tradesmen, of course. "
P G Wodehouse - My Man Jeeves and the Hard Boiled Egg 1919
" There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself,
' Do trousers really matter?' "
" The mood will pass, sir. "

P.G. Wodehouse ( 1881-1975) The Code of the Woosters


Monday, 6 August 2018

A Green Monday.

A great start to the week.

The beckoning sun caught this collage of greens at their best.
A weed of sorts but surprisingly beautiful.
Luminous, stunning and worthwhile taking a moment to absorb.
All it takes is a fallow field, green weeds and sunshine to unwind and leave one's troubles behind.
I do hope this is a mere solo edition of a nettle plant...
Walking past rows of purple topped blades of grass is magic and it makes such a deep impression on the soul.


Sunday, 5 August 2018

Another Kellergassen Fest Come And Gone.

A hot summer's evening cooled with cold wine.

To be honest, I didn't have any inclination to go to our Eisenberg Kellergassen Fest as the temperatures at seven in the evening were still over thirty degrees and we had planned to walk there.

Bob made a plan and we drove ( which of course meant a healthy adult attitude to wine consumption for one of us ) to the top and naturally we found a great parking space due to many having eschewed the Fest because of the hot weather.

There were only five wine stations this time around but in the end, that was more than enough. I think the only reason Bob was so keen to go was the lure of Langos being sold at the first station. Langos, a deep fried dough the size of a dinner plate drizzled with garlic. Yummy and addictive to those in the know. As couples one should make sure the other has one too or find a different place to sleep that night. Garlic aplenty.

Drinking wine in hot climes means having to change one's thinking and I suppose drinking. Ice cubes in wine are essential even though it waters down most of its defining qualities. Honestly, at over thirty degrees nobody is that fazed with quality. As long as the flavour is nice and the wine chilled all is well. Luckily this year most of the stands had ice cubes on offer.

Asking to have an ice cube put into one's wine is akin to a sin most of the time but thankfully yesterday no eyebrows were raised and if so, it was more out of envy.

To end the evening off Bob took me to Weber's Buschenschank in the village and that was a nice way close the chapter on another good day. Amazingly they had a Vegan salad option on their menu and not mere lettuce either. Avocado, sweet melon, cashew nuts and smoked tofu was a great combination but more than anything, I loved the fact that they have gone the extra mile and put it on the menu...don't forget, our part of Burgenland is firmly steeped in the consumption of meat.


Saturday, 4 August 2018

Plants And Horses.

Guess who went for a walk?

These horses have a great time being led for long walks. I met them at the end of my walk and driving into Deutsch Schützen two hours later, they were just coming back home.
Fruits of all sorts are just dangling about waiting to be picked.
The corn is taking its time to ripen but I think I'll rather buy them from the shops.
What a great life these horses can't be much fun carrying people on their backs.
Not far from our house is this delightful edge of a garden. Most of the time it glows colourful and makes me smile.
The famous old tree of Eisenberg posed in front of the rising mist. This hare doing a runner must live near it as I tend to see it hop along whenever I chose that route.


Friday, 3 August 2018

Photo Booth, Clothes Pegs And A Fun Time.

Another fiftieth birthday party.

Gosh, at the moment the half centuries are falling everywhere. The 1960's must have been a good decade! Bob and I had the fortune of being invited to one yesterday and it was great fun.

It started at a reasonable time; six o'clock which made the welcoming glass of champagne most enjoyable. A sort of sun-downer but with a difference. Did I mention that the half century belongs to a wine farmer?

As we got to the table moonlighting as an entrance, we were handed a big empty wine glass with a thin stem as well as being asked our names. The mystery of it was explained when they wrote our names on the wooden clothes pegs and pegged these onto our wine glass stems.

At first I took it to be a designer gimmick, but you know as the evening progressed we were glad of it. It being held on a wine estate you can imagine that none of us were ever thirsty, in fact we were given a front row seat at tasting all the delicious wines held back for special occasions.

There were many guests at our table but they often got up to either smoke or chat to someone. Glasses galore on the table but as you guessed, we never mixed them up plus, remembering names was a breeze...if the peg was facing the right way that is!

They had also organized a photo booth and asked each guest to take a snapshot with the Birthday Boy. Imagine, there must have been at least one hundred guests yet he had a great time having photos taken with his many friends. Bob and I took a photo with him and what fun it was grinning at that machine awaiting the flash to go off. Great stuff and when the photo popped out old school, we stuck it in a photo album with a comment. Isn't that a fabulous idea? Goes to show that the older we get the more fun we have...


Thursday, 2 August 2018

Rain, Glorious Rain.

At last the heavens gave way.

We have all been sweltering and wilting away in these extremely hot temperatures lately. It felt like forever but perhaps was only for a week or two. Enough though to give colour to most of our faces.

The hot and humid climes have been a constant companion day and night. Unless blessed with an air-conditioner, life is pretty much spent trying our best to shake off this awful cloying heat. Sleep, what sleep, mainly next to an open window although that has its own dangers...a slew of late night re-runs of Medical Detectives makes any leaf turning over a danger equipped with a knife.

Since about ten this morning clouds of all shapes, sizes and colours have fought for front row positions above us. Only now, several hours later have they clashed enough to sprinkle rain drops on us. Not many but enough to let us know that an end to the horrid heat wave might be on the cards.

Farmers conceivably have felt that famous itch in their palm / finger / toes as most of the fields and acres surrounding our villages have been mowed, harvested and turned. A selected few have had the pleasure of getting soaked in manure. Fresh ones, from the odor wafting from it.

Alas, the famous raindrops of a moment ago have whittled down to a few spits and splats barely enough to satisfy a thirsty garden. Never mind, we still have a day or two's worth of rain water saved up from the last bout of rain and once that is finished, we can use our well at the top garden.


Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Honesty & Kindness, Alive And Well In Burgenland.

A search ensues.

Picture it; this morning at half past five the Bobster was rushing about in a great panic trying to find his wallet. A dash to the bedroom, back to the kitchen, a quick look in the bathroom but alas, he couldn't find it. It must be somewhere in our house I thought and stupidly proffered this advice.

Bob stepped outside to look in the car but then remembered that he had driven a different company car when they worked close to Neusiedlersee yesterday . His last hope was the thought of his wallet lying contently upon the dashboard.

When he phoned me at nine, I felt relieved until he asked me to search thoroughly everywhere as his wallet wasn't in that other car either. I asked him where the last place was that he used his wallet. A supermarket in Purbach.

I searched high and low with the same result. Plan B, just in case I looked up the number of this supermarket as well as their local police station. One never knows.

Supermarket first. The phone rang forever until finally a woman answered. I told her my tale of a husband having lost his wallet and before I had finished, she told me they had it. Wow, gosh, great. It turned out that the wallet had fallen out of Bob's pocket as he got into the car ( one of those Mercedes vans ) and someone had found and handed it in to the office.

How wonderful to see kindness and honesty still alive and well. It refreshes the notion that people are innately nice. No ifs, whens or buts. Bob was ecstatic when I phoned to tell him and on Friday we will travel through to Purbach ( one and a half hours each way ) to fetch the wallet. A bit of a mini holiday for us at least. When life gives you lemons...make lemonade.